Women across Turkey demand safety, prevention of violence
ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency
Thousands of women across Turkey were on the streets to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 25, urging authorities to effectively implement laws and regulations to prevent femicides and abuse of women.
More than 2,000 women gathered on Tünel Square, which is between the iconic İstiklal Avenue and Galata Tower, in the evening, with a huge banner reading, “We won’t stand the idea of losing one more individual.”
Carrying placards with names of femicide victims and reading, “Not fortune, violence from men,” “Long live women’s solidarity” and “We won’t be silent, we are not afraid, we won’t obey,” women marched a few hundred meters to the Istanbul Bar Association building on İstiklal Avenue.
“We get scared of seeing the name of another woman as a hashtag on social media. Because it means that the woman is either not alive or she gets no results in seeking justice despite being exposed to gruesome violence,” read the joint press statement of the women groups and organizations.
“Women are being killed everyday, because they attempt to divorce or say no. Women are being killed everyday, because the Istanbul Convention and Law No. 6284 are not being implemented,” it added, referring to a Council of Europe convention signed in 2011 and a legislation in the Turkish Penal Code to prevent domestic violence.
“We are here for a world where the names of women will be mentioned in news for their lives, not deaths, and with their dreams realized, not with violence they were exposed to. And we lay our hopes on each other! Our hope is laid on the strength we get from our unity and the solidarity of women,” the statement said.
After the press release was read, some women groups went on marching towards Taksim Square chanting, “We are not leaving the streets, squares and nights,” but the police dispersed the crowd using tear gas and rubber bullets.
Rallies and events were organized in all 81 provinces of Turkey to mark the day by women’s rights activists and women branches of parties on opponent sides of the political spectrum.
An exhibition in the capital Ankara kicked off on Nov. 25 as part of the United Nations Women’s “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” campaign.
“Light the Dark” installation exhibition at Seğmenler Park in the district of Çankaya brings together several artists and aims to draw attention to safety of women and girls in public spaces.
Using fireflies that light the dark as its logo, the campaign invites women and men to visit the website atesbocekleri.info and mark those spaces where they feel unsafe and share an experience by leaving their comments.
Domestic violence data
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 25 that “A total of 124,521 cases of domestic violence and violence against women took place, according to 10-month data [for 2019], but it is a drop of 19.1 percent compared to the same period last year.”
Soylu highlighted that the ministry has stepped up preventive measures and tried to provide data to all studies aiming to prevent violence against women.
Turkey’s Women Emergency Assistance Notification System (KADES) app, which allows immediate reaction in case of violence against women, has been downloaded by over 353,000 people, Soylu said.
He added that nearly 79,000 personnel, especially those who are working in police stations, have been trained on the issue of violence against women since 2014.
“Sensitivity to the issue, especially contacting security units, filing complaints, and follow-up mechanisms, give very positive results,” he added.
Soylu on March 6 said that 281 women were murdered in 2018 across Turkey. However, Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu (We Will Stop Femicide Platform), which keeps a tally of femicides across the country, put the number at 404 as a result of different methods of categorization.
On Nov. 25, the 45-year-old Ayşe Tuba Arslan, a victim of male violence, was laid to rest in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir on Nov. 25.
The mother of two was severely injured by her former husband’s attack with a meat cleaver 44 days ago. Her coffin was carried by her mother, women relatives and friends.